Police: Suspect shot after pointing fake gun at cop in Texas mall

A man suspected of stealing from a store in an Arlington mall was shot after he pulled an imitation gun on an officer

By Claire Z. Cardona
The Dallas Morning News

ARLINGTON, Texas — A police officer shot and wounded a man suspected of stealing from a store at The Parks at Arlington mall Sunday afternoon. 

Two on-duty Arlington officers, who were in uniform, responded to a report of a theft about 4:30 p.m. at the Sunglass Hut at the mall in the 3800 block of South Cooper Street, near Interstate 20, police Lt. Christopher Cook said.

One uniformed officer stayed on the upper deck of the mall and the second was on the lower floor. Mall security staff also reported on a two-way radio that they were following the man, who had reportedly stolen two pairs of sunglasses, police said.

Police said the man fled from security and got on the escalator to the second floor, near the food court. He pulled out what police said was later found to be an imitation weapon and pointed it at the police officer on the first floor. Believing that it was a real gun, the officer fired at the man, striking him, Cook said. 

The suspect, who is in his early 20s, was taken to an area hospital. His condition was unavailable Sunday evening and authorities released no additional information. 

No other injuries were reported.  

The name of the officer was not released. 

Despite initial reports on social media, the incident was not an active shooter situation, police said.  But Cook indicated that the situation could have been worse.

"This happened when the mall was extremely busy, there were a lot of bystanders," Cook told KXAS-TV (NBC5). "You saw a lot of people that were upset, crying, kids misplaced from their parents, people sheltering in place, because you don't know nowadays." 

Cook also cautioned against the use of imitation firearms.

"Officers cannot make a distinction between the two, especially ... in a split second decision," he said. "You have an officer trying to detain an individual for a legitimate offense ... and then he makes a decision to pull an imitation firearm out. You can't do that. You'll get this type of response."

The mall, which had been scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Sunday, was evacuated early as police conducted their crime scene investigation. 

©2017 The Dallas Morning News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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